STEP FOUR

Made a searching and fearless
moral inventory of ourselves.







Essay

Set Aside Prayer

"God, I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"



This step brings us to the first of the action steps. There is no time between step 3 and working step 4. This is the moral inventory. The best way to do this step is to just do it. There is no such thing as a perfect inventory. This step will be done many times in your life. The first time is the most difficult as we have let many things pile up that we donít need. The Big Book says that the number one offender is our resentments. So, making sure that we know how to handle this offender is of key importance.



This phase of doing a moral inventory of ourselves is the bulk of the work for the rest of the steps. We take stock of the things weíd like to let go of. These are the things that drain our energy and keep us from leading productive lives. Resentment drains me of my energy. Fears keep me from living the life I really want to. And my general responses to how these things affect my relationships in a negative way.



In many circles, it is common to have someone suggest that we burn our inventory as an offering to God. Once the inventory has been completely dealt with in this step study (or after Step 12), you may find that you want to do just that.

Discussion - Why do an inventory?


The Promises

The best reasons to work steps four through twelve are the promises found on page 63, 75, 84-5, and some more on page 88 in the Big Book.

Page 63: the step 3 promises

"...Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today tomorrow, or the hereafter. We were reborn.



Page 75: the promises after taking step 5

"Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe."



Page 84-5: Step 10 promises

"And we ceased fighting anything or anyone - even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition."



Page 88: Step 11 promises

"... We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works - It really does."

The Power

By running our own life through our own self will we have separated ourselves from our Higher Power and His power is what we need to relieve our obsession. Our separation from God makes it impossible to enjoy the promises in the Big Book. When we have His power, we can start having these promises in our lives. We make an inventory so we can see what we need to work on to remove any obstacles in our path to God. He has the power we so desperately need to stay food sober.

Logical to work a known successful process

Any successful business will conduct an inventory. This removes any unwanted waste or useless stuff lying around. For our purpose, the unwanted waste and useless stuff is what is blocking us from our HP, the power that we need to live a sane and happy life. Our inventories are similar in construction as shown in the chart below.



Commercial Inventory VS. Our Fourth Step inventory

Written list........................................................... Written list

Fact finding......................................................... Searching

The way it is....................................................... Fearless (the way it is)

Discover the truth............................................... Moral (honest or truthful)

Stock-in-trade..................................................... Self: our thinking and feeling & actions

Goods-in-store................................................... Our attributes

Disclose Damaged or un-sellable goods............ Disclose things blocking us from God

Get rid of them promptly & without regret.......... After frank discussion in step 5, Became willing & asked God (6-7)

Cannot be fooled about values........................... Move away from delusion, illusion, rationalization, & justification

Neglect leads to bankruptcy............................... Neglect leads us back to where we came from



The 7 parts of self

The seven parts of our self are defined below. To gain understanding of how we react and why we do some of the things that we are doing, we need to understand a bit about ourselves in the psychological sense.



The Seven Parts Of Self Defined

Self Esteem - How I think of myself

Pride - How I think others view me

Pocketbook - Basic desire for money, property, possessions, etc.

Personal Relations - Our relations with other people

Ambition - Our goals, plans and designs for the future

Emotional Security - General sense of personal well being

Sex Relations - Basic drive for sexual intimacy

These seven parts of self are related to three basic survival instincts. (Social, Security, Sex Instinct)


Itís helpful to see how our seven parts of self can drive us into resentments, fears and harming others. The following diagram helps us see how these relate to our reactions and behaviors that can cause us trouble. This is taken from AA again, but formatted to fit in this page.


BASIC INSTINCTS OF LIFE WHICH CREATE SELF

SOCIAL INSTINCT

SECURITY INSTINCT

SEX INSTINCT

COMPANIONSHIP - Wanting to belong or be accepted.


PRESTIGE - Wanting to be recognized, or to be accepted as a leader.


PRIDE - An excessive and unjustified opinion of oneself, either positive (self love) or negative (self hate).


PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS - Our relations with other human beings and the world around us


AMBITIONS - Our plans to gain acceptance, power, recognition, prestige, etc.


MATERIAL - Wanting money, buildings, property, clothing, etc. in order to be secure in the future.


EMOTIONAL - Based upon our needs for another person or persons. Some tend to dominate, some are overly dependant on others


AMBITIONS - Our plans to gain material wealth, or to dominate, or to depend upon others


ACCEPTABLE - Our sex lives as accepted by Society, God's principles or Our own principles.


HIDDEN - Our sex lives that are contrary to neither Society, God's principles or Our own principles.


AMBITION≠Our Plans regarding our sex lives either acceptable or hidden.



RESENTMENTS

FEARS

HARM OR HURTS

Feelings of bitter hurt or indignation which come from rightly or wrongly held feelings of being injured or offended.



(Incorrect thinking)

Feelings of anxiety, agitation, uneasiness, apprehension, etc.



(Incorrect believing)

Wrong acts which result in pain, hurt feelings, worry, financial loss, etc., for others and also self.



(Incorrect actions)



Eliminate our Agnosticism in our fears that blocks us from our HP

I believe that fear is behind every character defect we have. The Big Book states that fear touches nearly every aspect of our lives. It is an evil corroding thread in our lives. It causes more troubles that stealing, since fear steals our faith away from us and faith is the opposite of fear.


These fears show us that in those parts of our lives we havenít let God in. We are trying to rely on our own limited self and that is why we are afraid. This is where our fears show up as a manifestation of our agnosticism.


Our fears can comprise of things like being afraid of not getting something we want, like health, wealth, a partner, or children etc. They can also take on the form of being afraid of being found out about something done in the past, or not done in the past, or things that should be done now. Fears are basically future projections. They keep us from living in the here and now. Being in the here and now makes it possible to have a conscious contact with God. This contact can only happen in the present. This separation keeps me from the power I need to overcome my obsessions and take care of myself physically.


Other kinds of fears are like Phobias. These types of fears can cause a lot of trouble for us and may need professional help in order to overcome them. They still separate us from our conscious contact with God and need to be included on our inventory. If for nothing else to let us know to take a step towards getting the help we need to overcome it.



Assignments

Read the bottom of page 63 - 71 in the Big Book. You wonít be sharing with the group the work you will be doing on this assignment. You can share what you felt about it while doing it. Iíve also included some prompt sheets and tables to aid you. There are many ways to do a 4th step inventory list. I tried to put together several tables (one for each major defect - resentments, fear, and conduct (sexual and personal)) to aid in doing it the Big Book way. You may find you have a better one or one that works better for you. The point is to just do the inventory. Donít let tables or charts make you nuts.



Before starting to work on your inventory, I suggest saying this prayer. As with all the prayers Iíve written in these assignments, they are only a suggestion, you can change the prayer so it works best for you.

God, please show me your will and help me write this inventory.

Help me see beyond what I think I know about myself and show me the real truth about myself. Please help me to face and be rid of the things in myself which have been blocking me from you, other people and myself. Please grace me with patience, tolerance, faith, strength and courage that I may have the power I require to write inventory. Please keep me safe and protected as I search for an experience and the real truth about myself. Remove my fear and ego which block me from seeing the truth about myself.



When stopping work on your inventory and turning to other things, I suggest saying this prayer. Repeat these prayers whenever you begin or stop writing on your inventory.

God, Thank you for your guidance and direction in writing this inventory Please help me to put it aside and go about my daily business.


When starting your inventory, to avoid procrastination, make a date with your sponsor to do your step 5 and share your inventory 10 days after you start it.
We start with resentments. You may want to review pages 64-67 before starting to fill out the table. Iíll be making reference to the work youíve done in this inventory in future steps. Iíve tried to create them to translate easily to the other steps weíll be working on. This resentment table will have links to steps 6, 7, 8, 9.



Take out the resentment table. Weíll be filling this table in two parts. First weíll fill in the table just like how it is used on page 65.

For Old Timers: fill out the table for each resentment.

For New Comers: fill out the table by putting down the person, institution, or principle and all the resentments you have towards it.

For Both: Start with people closest to you, your family. Then widen the circle to include other people such as, friends and acquaintances from all the areas of your life (work, school, church, organization, etc). Then think of institutions you may have resentments at and include them (government office, the company you work for ...etc). Once you are finished with that you may have resentments at principles (like God-Deity, Ten Commandments, Satan, Death ... etc.)



In the table handout, you only have to put check marks next to the 7 part of self that are affected. So, write down everyone, institution, and principles that you are resentful at, the cause(s), then go back through and check which parts of the self are affected. Donít forget to fill out the fear column as well as it applies.


After building our resentment table the Big Book tells us we are to look at them from another angle. Read pages 65-67. We are to see the people as sick. Our resentments are fatal since they block us from conscious contact with God. They drive us back to eating our trigger foods and binging. We must be rid of them. When we harbor these resentments we let others dominate us since they are occupying our minds and make us feel bad about ourselves and others. Resentments are part of our spiritual illness and our illness is fatal.



Read "Freedom from Bondage" in the Big Book (Starting on page 544 in either the 4th or the 3rd Edition). Copy the suggestion that helped free herself of her resentments.



We cannot be rid of our resentments by our own self-will. We turn to God for help. We become to realize that people who wronged us did it out of a spiritual sickness the same as ours. So, we pray to God a prayer for our resentments like the following.



God please help us to show _______ who wronged us the same tolerance pity and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. Make me realize that they are sick persons and show me how I can be helpful to them. God save me from being angry. Your will be done.



Once we have done that we can fill in the last part of the resentment table, by answering the five questions listed there. This helps us in our steps 6 and 7. Our character defects can be easily found when we do this exercise.



Say daily prayers for each resentment that clings, the prayer above and the prayer suggested below until it is gone.



God Please grant _____ everything I want for myself, please give him/her health, prosperity, and happiness.


Next we turn our focus on the Fears that we have. We know we need to have our HPís help in removing them. You can refer to pages 67-8. You can use the fear table included and notice that Iíve tried to follow the Big Books advice in how to inventory our fears.



In the column "Who or what are we afraid of", we can copy down all those from our resentment inventory to here. We can then focus on our fears. We think about why we have them. For some we might not be able to remember any reason why we have it and thatís ok. We then look at how this fear has or is affecting our 7 parts of self and check those parts.



From there we add any fears we may have from people, places, situations, and things. There are also many pairs of fears like a fear of failure can also mean that you have a fear of success as well. This type of work does outline our agnosticism in our lives as well as our spiritual illness in different areas of our lives.


Once you have filled out the first table, the second section is to help you pair down your fears. Sometimes we can have many fears that are basically from a root fear. For example, I could list fears of a teacher, my boss, a policeman, or a law. These would all be a root fear of authority for me. It makes our lists much more manageable and easier to understand ourselves when we list our fears as root fears.


We can think of one small step or steps to help us grow out of this fear. The last column requires that we meditate on what we think God would have us be with that fear and write it down. Once we have gotten our fears written and paired down, the Big Book says to pray to have God to remove our fears. "God, please remove our fears and direct our attention to what you would have us BE". Do this for each root fear.


Now we turn to the Sexual conduct table. Review pages 68-71. The Big Book has no opinion on sex, only "We donít want to be the arbiters of anyoneís sex conduct". But it does give guidance on how to build our own sexual conduct statement. Here we take our table and list everyone weíve been intimate with and we ask the 9 questions listed in the Big Book. We pay special attention to what we put in the ninth question, because weíll be using our answers to help us build our "sane and sound ideal" for our sexual conduct.



First we are to ask ourselves about each relationship if it was selfish or not. Then turn and pray "God, Please mold my ideals and help me to live up to them." After prayer and meditation, we are to write down our sexual conduct ideal.



We must treat sex as any other problem. When we have a specific problem we turn to God in prayer and meditation. We remember that our sexual powers are God given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed. We realize that only God is the final judge of our sex conduct and not people, though we might ask for their advice.


From page 70 in the Big Book, we can also write a general conduct ideal. We have to list the people we have hurt (what weíll be working on in steps 8 and 9). Since we treat sex like any other problem, we can apply the same approach we took there to our general conduct as well. We look over our resentment inventory and put down the names of those we had harmed (physical, financial, or emotional harm). Remember that resenting someone doesnít mean that you have harmed them. To this list we add people and institutions we had harmed without resenting them (i.e. I could shoplift something and not feel resentment, but had harmed the store I shoplifted from)



From here we answer the same questions and through prayer and meditation we write down our personal conduct ideal and become willing to grow into it. We ask for help to be able to live up to it.


Next is Secrets. Some groups have a custom of listing all secrets a person thought theyíd take to the grave with them. In the Big Book there is some reference to harboring secrets and the effect that has in a personís program. This is found in step 5 on pages 72-5. "...they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honest, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone their entire life story." ..."...We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world." ..."We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted."



There is a saying that I agree with, "We are as sick as our secrets". So there is a table that is basically a blank page for you to use to write down any secrets that havenít been covered in any of the other inventory work. You can write it down as a code so no one, but who you do your 5th step work, will know.

Readiness to Move to the next step

Once you have completed your inventory ask yourself



Was it thorough?

Was it fearless?

Was it searching?

Is it complete?



There is no such thing as a perfect inventory. Iíve done a half dozen of them and will do more in the future. If youíve done it to the best of your ability, you are ready for step 5.


Prompt lists to help with filling out inventories



Fear Prompt List

Fear of drinking

Fear of old age

Fear of insanity

Fear of sorrow Fear of being broke

Fear of life

Fear of losing car, house, "stuff"

Fear of injury

Fear of losing spouse, friend

Fear of blindness

Fear of failure (SUCCESS)

Fear of deafness

Fear of poverty

Fear of death

Fear of money

Fear of cancer

Fear of wealth

Fear of dentists

Fear of law

Fear of doctors

Fear of court

Fear of hospitalization

Fear of police

Fear of pain

Fear of jail

Fear of psychiatrists

Fear of Income Tax People

Fear of Step 3

Fear of Making Direct Amends

Fear of Step 4

Fear of Surgery

Fear of Step 5

Fear of sex (INTIMACY)

Fear of Step 9

Fear of Love

Fear of Loss of Love

Fear of FEAR

Fear of Loss of spouse / partner

Fear of impotency

Fear of detachment

Fear of commitment

Fear of rejection

Fear of sponsor

Fear of criticism

Fear of AA

Fear of loneliness

Fear of GOD

Fear of crowds

Fear of churches

Fear of public speaking

Fear of candle-light meetings

Fear of flying

Fear of confined spaces

Fear of the dark

Fear of eye to eye contact

Fear of heights

Fear of "burning in hell"

Fear of fire

Fear of "the realm of the spirit"

Fear of being fired

Fear of psychic experiences

Fear of being laid off

Fear of water

Fear of financial insecurity

Fear of snakes

Fear of BEING CAUGHT at ANYTHING

Fear of "IF YOU KNEW THIS ABOUT ME"

Fear of animals, dogs, cats







Resentment Prompt List

People

Institutions

Principles

Father (Step)

Mother (Step)

Sisters (Step)

Brothers (Step)

Aunts

Uncles

Cousins

Clergy

Police

Lawyers

Judges

Doctors

Employer's

Employee's

Co-Workers

In-Laws

Husband vs. Wives

Creditors

Childhood Friends

School Friends

Teachers

Life Long Friends

Best Friends

Acquaintances

Girl Friends

Boy Friends

Parole Officers

Probation Officers

A.A. Friends

C.A. Friends

N.A. Friends

U.S. Service Friends



Marriage

Bible

Church

Religion

Races

Law

Authority

Government

Education System

Correctional System

Mental Health System

Philosophy

Nationality

God-Deity

Retribution

Ten Commandments

Jesus Christ

Satan

Death

Life After Death

Heaven

Hell

Sin

Adultery

Golden Rule

Original Sin

Seven Deadly Sins



The following Tables are there to be has a guide or aid to your inventory. Please use them with that in mind. If you need more rows, go ahead and add them. If you need more pages, go ahead and copy them. I found them useful because they had all the details on one page, and I didnít have to keep referring back to the notes.

Resentment Inventory

Here is a table to help you to fill out your resentment inventory. Add as many rows as you need or print out as many copies as you need
For old timers, fill in each resentment separately.
For newcomers, put down the name and then fill in all the resentments towards that person.

First section in filling out this table: Think of everyone you have a resentment towards and put them down into this table. Study the table on page 65 in the Big Book and follow that format. This table is only here to help you follow that table. You only have to place a check on the seven parts of self that apply to each particular resentment

In this second section, we are to set aside our feelings and only focus on our part in the resentment.

I'm Resentful at

The cause

Self-Esteem

Pride

Pocket book

Personal relations

Ambition

Emotional Security

Sex relations

(Fear)

My Major part in any resentment is hanging onto it and reliving it, thus allowing it to hurt me over and over again.

The other BB questions- Where was I - Selfish, Self-Seeking, Dishonest, to Blame, or Frightened?



Fear Inventory

This is the first part of the Fear inventory worksheet. Read pages 67-68. Write down all your fears. This includes the pairs of fears and phobias. Look at resentment inventory and copy all that have (fear) checked.



This is the second stage of doing the fear inventory. We shorten our list by pairing down our fears into root fears. For example, we could have listed fears for parents, police, and teachers. We may have a general fear of those in authority. We pair this into one fear called authority. This is called the Root fear. Once we've paired down the fears and shortened our list we can look at the next small step we could do to overcome this fear. We get in contact with our HP and ask him what he would have me be.

What or Who are we afraid of

Why we have those fears

Self-Esteem

Pride (Other's View)

Pocket book

Personal relations

Ambition

Emotional Security

Sex relations

(Fear)



Root Fears

Steps To take with this fear.

What would God have me be with this fear?



Sexual Conduct Inventory

Write down each person you have been intimate with. Then answer these questions for each person.

Person:


Where have I been selfish in my conduct?

Where have I been dishonest in my conduct?

Where Had I been inconsiderate in my conduct?

Had I hurt that person (Emotionally, Physically, or financially)?

Did I unjustifiably arouse jealousy in that person?

Did I unjustifiably arouse suspicion in that person?

Did I unjustifiably arouse bitterness in that person?

Where was I at fault?

What should I have done instead?

My Sexual Conduct Guidelines:

General Conduct Inventory

This is a list of people and institutions that I have harmed by my general conduct. This can be physical, financial, emotional, or a combination of all the harms. We first pick from our resentment inventory the ones we've identified there that we've harmed. Then we look at those people/institutions that we didn't resent but have done harm to, e.g. I may have shop lifted at a grocery store. I didn't feel resentment towards the store, but I harmed the store when I stole from it.



Person/institution:

Where have I been selfish in my conduct?

Where have I been dishonest in my conduct?

Where Had I been inconsiderate in my conduct?

Had I hurt that person (Emotionally, Physically, or financially)?

Did I unjustifiably arouse jealousy in that person?

Did I unjustifiably arouse suspicion in that person?

Did I unjustifiably arouse bitterness in that person?

Where was I at fault?

What should I have done instead?





My Personal Conduct Guideline:


Secrets we thought we'd take to the grave.



There has grown a traditional part to step 4 in including secrets we didn't want to tell anyone. There is some reference to this in the Big Book when talking about step 5 (pg 72-25)



"... they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone their entire life story"

"We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."

"We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted..."






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